Details
POPO ISKANDAR (INDONESIA, 1927-2000)
Red Nude
signed 'Popo' and dated '67-68' (lower right)
oil on canvas
66 x 91 cm. (26 x 35 7/8 in.)
Painted 1967-1968

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Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

The Vibrant Collective of Indonesian Art
From the vibrant of collective of Indonesian art in the second half of the twentieth century comes the abstract works of Mochtar Apin, But Mochtar, Umi Dachlan, Fadjar Sidik, Nashar. Following the period of political instability in the mid 1960s, many artists moved away from figuratively depicting everyday lives of the people and towards abstraction for fear of association with communist inclinations. A pioneer artist from 'The Bandung School' also known as the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Mochtar Apin like his peers, was influenced by parallel Western art movements. In particular, Apin was drawn to Abstract Expressionism and the pursuit of colour fields. Pemandangan Dengan Lipatan- Lipatan Kertas(Landscape with Origami) (Lot 574) sets an exemplar of Apin's artistic endeavors with its bold colours and carefully subjugated geometric shapes. Endowing the work with his own creative flair are the additional dabs of white to solid colours, combining yet juxtaposing a presentation of visual harmony and balance to the viewer. It was under the tutelage of Ries Mulder at 'The Bundung School', that But Mochtar developed his distinct style of Cubist Abstraction from the 1960s onwards. It is through a prolific work like Untitled (Lot 576) that one sees a clear glimpse of the artist's underlying foundation and school of painting. Controlled and compartmentalised in the delineation of shapes and colour, this present lot represents an important stepping stone in Mochtar's overvue. Umi Dachlan was a fellow artist in Bandung, who focused on the exploration of colours and shapes in her compositions through a religious stance. With a spiritual motive, Dachlan's works as exemplified through the present lot, Untitled, reveals and radiate a mediative aura through the impasto textures of an abstract landscape. An experience to behold, her mixed media painting is a humbling work rich in thought. An inspirational mentor to Dachlan at (ITB), Ahmad Sadali documented his personal life experiences as an artist and as a man on earth through his abstract paintings. Bongkah-Bongkah Emas (Lot 573) makes reference to gold blocks, bringing the viewer's attention to the horizontal impasto strokes across the dark canvas of reds and orange, all with an underlying shimmer of gold. Through his works, Sadali contemplates on his relationship to God and Nature. Popo Iskandar's artistic exploration sees the influences of the Western modernist movements beyond abstraction, including expressionism and cubism among others. Red Nude (Lot 577) is a clear indication of this with its reclining figure represented through geometric outlines. Painted between the 67-68s, the oil on canvas work bears similarity his other works of the period as Iskandar reduced forms to a simplified level as he reinterpretation and brings out the most essential and recognisable parts of his subject. Known to have developed his own individual form of abstractions, Fajar Sidik was moved to create an impressionistic form of expression based on impulse and intuition in response to his experience as a professional painter in Bali from 1957-1961. Beginning with semi-abstract forms, his artistic style matured and in 1968 in Yogyakarta, he executed Celebration (Lot 575), a beautiful work of oil colours and bold patterns. With a unique composition of geometric shapes spread out across the canvas that interact but never touching, Sidak creates a visual feast for the eyes as vibrant forms dance within the painting plane. In Jakarta, Nashar propagated his artistic principle, 'three-non', a rejection of technique, aesthetics and concepts. Approaching abstraction his own way, the artist used spontaneous brushwork, lines and a combination of blues, green, yellow and earth tones as seen in Untitled (Lot 580) to express and anchor his belief that art-making was a way of life.

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